Vermont Poet Laureate Mary Ruefle Is Unplugged | Poetry | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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The original print version of this article was headlined "Vermont Poet Laureate Mary Ruefle Wants to Mail You a Letter"

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More by Chelsea Edgar

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    In February, I was reporting on the innards of Vermont's dairy industry — the bewildering matrix of humans, cows and economics from which those eight-ounce bars of Cabot cheddar mysteriously emerge. In an attempt to understand it all, I decided to spend a week at Vorsteveld Farm in Panton, a 1,300-cow operation that seemed to represent the inexorable scaling up of production that has changed the face of Vermont agriculture. To ensure the most immersive experience, my original plan had been to sleep in the workers' trailer, but the lack of spare furniture made that inadvisable. So I ended up commuting home to Burlington every night, a mindless 45-minute drive by day made incalculably dicier after a 12- or 13-hour stint in the milking parlor, by which point every imaginable farm odor — the rich smell of raw milk, hot from the udder; the nose-stinging iodine solution used to protect the teats, which was disconcertingly cold to the touch and looked like orange Kool-Aid; mind-boggling quantities of steaming manure — had penetrated my five layers of clothing.
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    Huntington Open Women's Land, or HOWL, was established in 1985 as a women's community — a refuge from men, machismo and phallocentrism in all its forms. Until about six years ago, trans women were only tentatively considered in the collective's definition of "women"; more recently, HOWL has been grappling with the inclusion of people who identify as nonbinary, or neither strictly male nor female. On rare occasions, HOWL will host all-gender gatherings to which members can invite male partners, friends and children over the age of 10, but the categorical rule is that men aren't allowed on the premises.
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About The Author

Chelsea Edgar

Chelsea Edgar

Bio:
Chelsea Edgar is a staff writer for Seven Days, and has written for BuzzFeed and Philadelphia magazine.

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